Sunday Poll: Should the Size of the St. Louis Board of Aldermen Stay at 28 or be cut to 14?

 

 St. Louis voters have made some  notoriously bad decisions at the polls — the 1876 “divorce” from St. Louis County topping the list, the 1916 pro-segregation vote a close second. Back in 2012, city voters passed a measure cutting the Wards and Aldermen in half to 14. The measure takes …

St. Louis Board of Aldermen: New Board Bills Week 23 of 2019-2020 Session

 

 The St. Louis Board of Aldermen meet at 10am today, their 15th meeting of the 2019-2020 session. As previously noted, they have the first two meetings labeled as Week #1, so they list this as week/meeting 22. Today’s agenda includes thirteen (13) new bills. B.B.#155 – Guenther – An Ordinance recommended by …

Awaiting NCAA Rules on Collegiate Athletes Getting Paid for their Image, Likeness

 

 During part of my undergraduate days, mid-late 1980s, I worked part-time at Toys “R” Us — I was paid $5.90/hour at the end. I also had a small 401k plan. Not the worst college job. For the top college athletes their sport is their college job. Their scholarship may cover …

Thank You To All U.S. Veterans

 

 Today is a day to honor veterans of the U.S. armed forces. I never served, but my oldest brother spent 24 years in the Navy (1969-1993). Veterans Day (originally known as Armistice Day) is a federal holiday in the United States observed annually on November 11, for honoring military veterans, …

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City Residents Please Consider Using Public Transit (Bus &/or Rail) To Get Downtown For The Blues Parade Tomorrow

June 14, 2019 Environment, Events/Meetings, Featured, Public Transit, Transportation Comments Off on City Residents Please Consider Using Public Transit (Bus &/or Rail) To Get Downtown For The Blues Parade Tomorrow
 

Yesterday I shared a Metro post, criticizing their lack of mentioning MetroBus.

Of course, no mention of MetroBus.

Posted by UrbanReview ST LOUIS on Thursday, June 13, 2019

Fr0m their post:

MetroLink will have extra trains ready to go on Saturday as hundreds of thousands of Blues fans head downtown to celebrate with the Stanley Cup Champions, the St. Louis Blues.

With five downtown MetroLink stations a block or two away from the Stanley Cup Parade, MetroLink is the perfect option while avoiding road construction, traffic and parking issues.

What about residents of North & South city that don’t yet have light rail?

2012: The #11 MetroBus crosses Jefferson Ave. heading west on Chippewa Ave.

Yes, MetroBus is a good option. Since Metro’s marketing folks don’t seem to want to suggest their own service I decided to step up and show you some suggested routes.  Those of us who live in the city are well-served by transit, if we take it downtown that’ll ease congestion for everyone downtown.  We’re not all served by light rail.

My focus is on MetroBus routes that enter downtown, though other routes could connect you to say the Forest Park MetroLink station — the 90 Hampton MetroBus serves both North, West, & South city.  Of course the busiest MetroBus route, the 70 Grand, is an excellent option to reach MetroLink.

Because the Civic Center Transit Center is on the south edge of downtown (Downtown West technically) the south routes have less disruption from downtown events. However, most should be good, assuming you get downtown prior to street closures.

From South City:

  • 8 Bates-Morganford winds its way through the city on streets like: Loughborough, Holly Hills, Tower Grove, Shaw, Russell, 12th/Tucker, and — Bates & Morganford. On Saturday this bus runs every hour, the last bus before the parade arrives at Civic Center at 11:40am.
  • 10 Gravois-Lindell originates at Gravois & Hampton, cutting a diagonal path through south city along Gravois. Saturday morning this bus runs every 30 minutes.
  • 11 Chippewa runs every 40 minutes on Saturday morning, from the Shrewsbury MetroLink Station along Landsdowne, Chippewa, and Jefferson. Normally the EB bus heading into downtown goes up to Market but tomorrow it’ll use Chouteau to 14th to avoid the parade.
  • 20 South Broadway serves South County & South City including South County Mall, Jefferson Barracks, far south city, & Soulard. On Saturday it runs every hour.
  • 30 Arsenal is another route running through south city between Shrewsbury MetroLink and Civic Center Transit Center in Downtown West. It primarily uses Arsenal for the East-West portion and Broadway for the North-South.  The 30 runs every 40 minutes on Saturdays.
  • 31 Chouteau connects the Maplewood/Manchester MetroLink Station to Civic Center via Manchester in both the county & city, and Chouteau. It runs every hour on Saturdays.
  • 73 Carondelet serves both south county & city, every 30 minutes on Saturdays. Streets include: Michigan, Virginia, Osceola, Meramec,  Cherokee, Lemp, and Truman Parkway.
  • 80 Park-Shaw connects the CWE MetroLink to Civic Center via south city. Similar to 8 above, but the route is different. Every hour on Saturdays.

From North City — most will have a reroute in the downtown area due to the parade.

  • 4 Natural Bridge travels mostly along Natural Bridge, then using Parnell/Jefferson, usually to Market. Due to the parade it’ll reroute by staying on Jefferson to Chouteau to 14th to Civic Center. The 4 runs every 40 minutes on Saturdays.
  • 19 St. Louis Ave connects the Rock Road MetroLink to Civic Center, through the heart of The Ville. It runs every 40 minutes on Saturdays. Because 14th will be closed for the parade it’ll reroute to Olive, Jefferson, Chouteau, 14th — if you take this bus to the parade I suggest exiting at 14th & Olive.  The 19 runs every 40 minutes on Saturdays.
  • 32 ML King also connects Rock Road to Civic Center, a little further south than the 19. It uses ML King & Cass for East-West and 9th/10th for North-South. At Washington & Tucker it will due a massive reroute along Washington to Jefferson, to Chouteau, to 14th. Avoid the reroute and exit before Tucker. The 32 runs every 40 minutes on Saturdays.
  • 40 North Broadway connects Riverview to downtown, primarily along Broadway.  Like the 32 it reroutes along Washington from Broadway to Jefferson — avoid all that and get off at Broadway & Washington! The 40 runs every hour on Saturdays.
  • 41 Lee runs every 40 minutes between Riverview and downtown/Civic Center on streets like Thekla, Emerson, Lee, Kossuth, 20th, Carr. Like other bus routes, avoid the very long reroutes by exiting at 14th & Olive.
  • 74 Florissant runs every half hour connecting north county to downtown via West/North Florissant. Like others, exit at 14th & Olive to avoid the long reroute.

From West City:

  • 10 Gravois-Lindell was mentioned above on the South City section, but for those in midtown it’s a good option to get to Civic Center. It’ll reroute at Jefferson to Chouteau so either stay on the bus to Civic Center or exit at Olive & Jefferson and walk to the parade start at 18th & Market. Or take it WB to the CWE to catch the train downtown.
  • 94 Page runs every 40 minutes on Saturdays connecting Westport Plaza via Wellston to Civic Center. In the city it primarily uses Page, 18th, Market. Because of the parade it’ll reroute at 18th & Olive to Jefferson, Chouteau.  Either get off at 18th & Olive or continue to Civic Center.
  • 96 Market Street Shuttle runs every hour on Saturdays. This is an option for SLU/Harris Stowe students. It’ll reroute at Jefferson to Chouteau.
  • 97 Delmar connects Clayton to Civic Center via the Delmar/Loop MetroLink, running every 30 minutes on Saturdays. In the city it primarily uses Delmar, Compton (briefly) and Washington. Due to the parade it’ll reroute at Washington to Jefferson, to Chouteau.

The links above are to the regular map for each route, for a list of all MetroBus routes click here. Again, if you live in the city and plan to attend the parade please walk, bike, or use transit — bus and/or rail.  The cash fare each way is $2 — have $1 bills because you can’t get change on the bus. If you need to take more than one bus or bus plus rail you’ll need $3 each way for a transfer. For exact times, stop locations, etc use Google Maps, Apple Maps, the Transit App, or Metro’s Trip Planner.

Street parking isn’t free on Saturday, and lots will be charging a lot. Uber/Lyft will likely have surge pricing, plus will have to deal with lots of traffic. Take transit — light rail or MetroBus.

— Steve Patterson

St. Louis Board of Aldermen: New Board Bills Week 8 of 2019-2020 Session

June 14, 2019 Board of Aldermen, Featured Comments Off on St. Louis Board of Aldermen: New Board Bills Week 8 of 2019-2020 Session
 
St. Louis City Hall

The St. Louis Board of Aldermen will meet at 10am today, their  8th meeting of the 2019-2020 session.  They’ve corrected the previous duplication of week #1 so they correctly list this as week/meeting 8 [UPDATE 6/14 @ 7am — I was tired yesterday. The BoA didn’t fix the problem, this is actually week 9. Ugh.]

Today’s agenda includes ten (10) new bills:

  • B.B. #64 – Green – An ordinance prohibiting the City and any agency, department, or instrumentality of the City, and any unelected boards or commissions whose activities are funded either in whole or in part, directly or indirectly by the City and whose membership includes one or more members appointed by the Mayor from entering into contracts with or otherwise spending monies for any individual or entity to provide legislative or executive lobbying services.
  • B.B. #65 – Green – An ordinance requiring that all votes taken by committees of the Board of Aldermen to act and report on bills and non-courtesy resolutions be recorded by the Clerk of the Board of Aldermen and a record of each committee members’
    vote be made and recorded as “Yea”, “Nay”, “Present”, “Abstain”, or in the event an Alderman is not present for the vote, “Absent”; and that Committee members’ votes be published on the City official website and digitally archived online; and requiring that a record of attendance be taken and published on the City of St. Louis’s official website; and containing an effective date.
  • B.B.#66 – T. Hubbard – An ordinance approving a Redevelopment Plan for 1221 Locust.
  • B.B.#67-Ingrassia- An ordinance repealing and replacing ordinance #70710, authorizing the Board of Public Service to promulgate regulations regarding bicycle sharing activities, which such regulations will be known as The Bike Share Policy of the City; and providing for the establishment of a “Micro Mobility Fund”; and providing for user fees to be deposited in the “Micro Mobility Fund” and expended as set forth herein to further, encourage and promote the use not only of bicycle sharing, but also scooters and other small vehicles, both manual and electronic, and containing an emergency clause.
  • B.B.#68-Vollmer- An Ordinance approving the petition to establish the Northeast Hampton/I-44 Community Improvement District, establishing the Northeast Hampton/I-44 Community Improvement District, finding a public purpose for the establishment of the Northeast Hampton/I-44 community improvement district, authorizing the execution of a Cooperation Agreement between the City, the Northeast Hampton/I-44 Community Improvement District and the Jerry Ackerman Motor Company prescribing the form and details of said agreement; making certain findings with respect thereto; authorizing certain other actions of city officials; and containing a severability clause and an emergency clause.
  • B.B.#69-Vollmer – An Ordinance recommended by the Board of Estimate and Apportionment authorizing and directing the issuance and delivery of not to exceed $5,172,000 plus issuance costs principal amount of tax increment and special district revenue notes (Northeast Hampton/I-44 Redevelopment Project) Series 20__-A/B, of The City; prescribing the form and details of such notes and the covenants and agreements made by the City to facilitate and protect the payment thereof; prescribing other matters relating thereto, and containing a severability clause.
  • B.B.#70-Clark Hubbard – An ordinance approving a Redevelopment Plan for 5236 Vernon Area
  • B.B.#71-Coatar – An ordinance amending Ordinance # 70316 approved July 14, 2016 (Exhibit “A”) by amending the Property Description of the Area and amending Section C of the attached 705 Olive St. Redevelopment Plan by extending the time of completion to June 25, 2022.
  • B.B. #72 – T. Hubbard – An ordinance approving a blighting study and Redevelopment Plan for 1528-1530 Locust.
  • B.B.#73 – Muhammad- An ordinance authorizing and directing the Director of Public Safety, and the Sheriff to enter into and execute an Intergovernmental Agreement with the United States Marshal Service for housing, transportation, and related services for United States Marshal detainees housed within the Division of Corrections, providing for appropriation of these funds paid by the United States Marshals Service in accordance with the Intergovernmental Agreement, authorizing the expenditure of such appropriated funds by entering into contracts or otherwise upon approval of the Board of Estimate and Apportionment, and containing an emergency clause.

The meeting begins at 10am, past meetings and a live broadcast can be watched online here. See list of all board bills for the 2019-2020 session — the new bills listed above may not be online right away.

— Steve Patterson

More Secure EMV Chip Readers Lacking at the Pump, Parking Meter, Metro Ticket Machines, ATMs, ETC.

June 12, 2019 Featured Comments Off on More Secure EMV Chip Readers Lacking at the Pump, Parking Meter, Metro Ticket Machines, ATMs, ETC.
 

Credit cards have changed a lot in my lifetime. The magnetic stripe didn’t appear on the backs of cards until the 80s. My first credit card, for department store Montgomery Ward, didn’t have a magnetic stripe at all. Before the magnetic stripe was days before merchants & banks learned of fraudulent sales.

In 1970, the credit card’s magnetic stripe had its first big test when it was rolled out in a joint pilot project by American Express, American Airlines and IBM at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport. IBM accepted the team’s recommendation to adopt the technology in 1973, and it rolled out bank cards and employee ID cards.

However, it wasn’t until 1980 that the price of the technology became acceptable to Visa and MasterCard, Svigals says. The original cards cost about $2 per card to produce, he says, but with economies of scale and improved production methods, they came down in price and cost less than 5 cents per card to produce just before MasterCard and Visa came on board.

Now a swipe of a credit card or debit card in an electronic reader sends the customer’s information to the bank that issued the card. The bank’s computers verify that the cardholder has sufficient credit or funds to cover the purchase and can either approve the request or decline — all within seconds. (CreditCards.com)

When I began working at Toys ‘R’ Us in 1983 we could swipe the card’s magnetic stripe to get an approval, but we still had to make an impression of the card to write the approval number on. All these impressions were guarded like cash, submitted daily with bank deposits.

Criminals got better at creating fake cards with stolen magnetic stripe information. Rather than wait for the government to step in, card issuers decided to switch to the EMV chip cards already in use in the rest of the world. This began almost 4 years ago:

Before October 1, 2015, any time a consumer’s credit card was duplicated and used for purchases, the bank would refund the fraudulent purchase to the store, with the understanding that the bank could have done more to prevent the fraudulent transaction from occurring. This created an incentive for the bank to verify the cardholder’s identity.

Starting October 1, 2015, that liability for fraud shifts from the bank to the store in cases where the bank has provided an EMV credit card but the store has not upgraded to an EMV terminal. The logic behind this is that the credit card issuer did everything in its power to protect the consumer, and the store ultimately dropped the ball, so to speak. This creates the incentive for both the bank and the store to upgrade to EMV — so the bank can avoid refunding fraudulent transactions and the store can avoid losing money on fraudulent transactions. If neither the credit card nor the store is EMV-ready, then the traditional liability rules apply. (NerdWallet)

It is important to note the end user isn’t responsible for fraud — this is a shift from bank to retailer accepting cards. Most stores have upgraded their equipment by now, longer deadlines were set for other transactions.  Pay at the pump, for example.  From December 2016:

Citing technological and regulatory challenges, Visa, MasterCard and American Express recently announced that the U.S. deadline for installing EMV (Europay, MasterCard and Visa) chip-card readers at automated fuel pumps has been extended to Oct.1, 2020 from Oct. 1, 2017.

More than 1.7 million merchants—or about one-third of all U.S. stores—now accept chip cards, and the nation has already seen a 43% reduction in counterfeit-card fraud among merchants using chip technology, according to Visa. However, selling fuel comes with a complex set of challenges, and gasoline retailers need more time to make the mandated upgrades.

Companies now have three more years to migrate from traditional magnetic stripe-based payment card scanners to chip readers before they would incur any financial liability for fraud perpetrated at the point of sale (POS).

The new liability shift deadline for gas pumps is a little over a year away. My husband pumps the gas in our car, but I’ve had him looking for EMV pumps for a couple of  years now. To our knowledge none exist in the St. Louis region.

One of St. Louis’ newest gas stations, ZOOM Gas on Tucker, doesn’t have an EMV chip reader. However, it is NFC enabled for mobile payment.

When shopping I prefer using ApplePay rather than a physical card, but I frequently have to get out my wallet to retrieve a physical card. When I do I hope there’s an EMV chip reader — I don’t trust magnetic stripe readers — these could contain a skimmer.

All our parking meters accept credit cards now, but none read the secure EMV chip.
I’ve yet to see an ATM with an EMV chip reader.
In Chicago this past weekend we ate one meal at a national chain — they’d taped over the EMV chip reader on the end of their equipment! Yes, I’ve complained to the company.
Metro’s ticket machines at MetroLink stations lack EMV chip readers.

Eventually our cards will no longer have the magnetic stripe and we’ll enter a PIN to verify transactions — like the rest of the world does.

While many of us are ready to go completely mobile, many prefer physical cards. Our POS infrastructure has to change with the EMV replacing magnetic stripe.

In the recent non-scientific Sunday Poll most correctly think the EMV is more secure than magnetic stripe.

Q: Agree or disagree: The magnetic strip on the back of credit/debit cards is just as secure as the new EMV chip.

  • Strongly agree: 1 [5.26%]
  • Agree: 0 [0%]
  • Somewhat agree: 0 [0%]
  • Neither agree or disagree: 1 [5.26%]
  • Somewhat disagree: 0 [0%]
  • Disagree: 6 [31.58%]
  • Strongly disagree: 9 [47.37%]
  • Unsure/No Answer: 2 [10.53%]

While I know I won’t be responsible for fraud, the lack of EMV readers at businesses tells me they don’t take issue of security seriously — I don’t like the hassle of getting replacement cards frequently.

— Steve Patterson

Married In East St. Louis Five Years Ago

June 10, 2019 Featured, Metro East, Steve Patterson Comments Off on Married In East St. Louis Five Years Ago
 

Saturday was my 5th wedding anniversary, we spent the weekend in Chicago to celebrate. At the time we got married Missouri recognized same sex marriages performed in other states, but we couldn’t get legally married in Missouri. No problem, we just borrowed the St. Louis skyline as the backdrop. We had a great day and our wedding was inexpensive thanks to borrowed audio equipment and dear friends volunteering to help.  A beautiful wedding need not cost a fortune.

Our wedding was held at 9am at the Malcolm Martin Memorial Park in East St. Louis, Illinois — one of our favorite places.

We posed for a selfie with friend/officiate Chris Reimer (center) during the ceremony.

Chris read an appropriate paragraph from ‘Wild Awake’ by Hilary T. Smith:

“People are like cities: We all have alleys and gardens and secret rooftops and places where daisies sprout between the sidewalk cracks, but most of the time all we let each other see is is a postcard glimpse of a skyline or a polished square. Love lets you find those hidden places in another person, even the ones they didn’t know were there, even the ones they wouldn’t have thought to call beautiful themselves.” 

Friend Jesanka French read a poem she adopted from Edward Monkton’s Lovely Love Story
Friend Dionna Raedeke sang ‘The Very Thought of You’
Here we’re smiling in the back seat of a new friend’s Tesla. She drove us carbon-free from the wedding in East St. Louis to the brunch reception in South St. Louis
Arrived at Bevo Mill

Our guests paid for their own brunch. In the 5 years since our wedding the building was purchased, renovated, reopened as Das Bevo, then closed except for special events. Plans to have a few guest rooms upstairs never materialized, we’d hope to spend the night there on our 5th anniversary.

It amazes me how quickly times goes by.  I’ve lived in St. Louis almost 29 years, this is the 15th year of this blog, it has been over 11 years since my stroke. And something I never thought possible when I was younger — I’ve been legally married for 5 years! Speaking of time passing by quickly, today is my oldest brother’s 69th birthday.

So many great memories of our wedding day, thanks to our friends & family for attending & helping.

— Steve Patterson

One of the songs we played before the ceremony:

Sunday Poll: Do You Think Credit Card Magnetic Strips Are As Secure As EMV Chip Cards?

June 9, 2019 Featured, Sunday Poll Comments Off on Sunday Poll: Do You Think Credit Card Magnetic Strips Are As Secure As EMV Chip Cards?
 
Please vote below

Chances are good that every credit/debit card in your wallet now has a tiny EMV chip, something none of our cards had a decade ago. If you’re a merchant you’ve likely had to change credit card equipment to allow customers to insert their card rather than just swipe the magnetic strip on the back.

Card companies, like Visa, began requiring chip technology by shifting fraud liability:

Starting October 1, 2015, that liability for fraud shifts from the bank to the store in cases where the bank has provided an EMV credit card but the store has not upgraded to an EMV terminal. The logic behind this is that the credit card issuer did everything in its power to protect the consumer, and the store ultimately dropped the ball, so to speak. This creates the incentive for both the bank and the store to upgrade to EMV — so the bank can avoid refunding fraudulent transactions and the store can avoid losing money on fraudulent transactions. If neither the credit card nor the store is EMV-ready, then the traditional liability rules apply. (NerdWallet)

Our cards here in the US still have magnetic strips on the back, in many cases still there is no chip option — Metro’s ticket machines, for example.

Here’s today’s poll:

This poll will close at 8pm tonight. Wednesday I’ll have the results and more on magnetic strip vs EMV cards.

— Steve Patterson

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